Sunday, 1 December 2019

Small Animals

2009: Snövita Djur - Snow White Animals (Illustrator - Staffan Ullström; Engraver - Piotr Naszarkowski)
The magic of snow and a trio of fauna wearing their winter coats.  The winter scenes feature a Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) although in Canada and Scotland is simply known as ptarmigan, a word derived from the Scottish Gaelic for croaker. Next is a stoat but as it is in its winter finery - an ermine (or in Swedish Hermelin).  Lastly a Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus)  a bundle of fur and twitching whiskers. These were the International Christmas Mail stamps, sending a little bit of Sweden 's winter out into the world.
1997: Spotted Polecat (Design - D Vasarheli)
This little chap could almost be wearing a trapper hat although all the fabulous fur is growing on a marbled or spotted polecat (Vormela peregusna)
seen here going about its daily life. When alarmed it arches its back and curls its tail and may inflict a foul smell emanating from under that tail if threatened.
2013: SEPAC - Young Animals of the Alpine Region (Design - Eric Beck)
Among the mountains of Liechtenstein a young marmot is coming out of its burrow. A shrill whistle is used as a warning to other marmots of predators, hope this one has sharp hearing while it is out in the open. 
2013: SEPAC - Baby Animals (Design - Marta Gullklett)
I started in winter but here is the promise of spring with cute little bundles of wool. The Faroe Islands lambs arrive in late April.

Lost Sheep on top of the York Left Luggage Office

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - small animals - appreciate the small things in life at - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 24 November 2019


1983: Year of the Child
Its playtime with a purpose in Mongolia, building robots and archery practice.
1986:25th Anniversary of Children's Day Care Centres
Meanwhile in Cuba small children seem to be playing with boxes.
1968: Paintings of Children
This little girl has a basket full of cherries. It is a painting by John Russell (1745-1806), an English portrait painter who worked in oil and pastels travelling extensively around the country, his paintings of children usually done in pastels.  Girl Presenting Cherries can be seen in the Louvre, Paris.
A charming house in Horn, Germany (now a suburb of Hamburg) which was the start of the Rauhe House Childrens Homes in 1833.  The Rauhe House was gifted to the founder Johann Hinrich Wichern who moved here with his wife and mother to look after poor boys, the homes later expanded to include all neglected children.
1983: 150th Anniversary of Das Rauhe Haus (Design - Börnson)
This building was the starting point of the diverse social and education activities of the Rauhe House homes. The children lived in 'families' of 12 to 15, a great contrast to the large institutions.

The Sunday Stamps prompt this week is - children - play along at See It On A Postcard 

Sunday, 17 November 2019


1987: Bee-keeping (Design - Mihai Vamasescu)
In the short cold days of early winter lets imagine the warmth of summer's day and the buzz of bees in a field of sunflowers.
1994: Definitives - Flora and Fauna (Design - Wendy Bramall)
or a bumble bee among the broom flowers with a couple of Clouded Yellow butterflies floating nearby attracted by red clover on the island of Alderney.
Stay by a still pond and watch a hyperactive Blue-tailed damselfly zooming around among water crowfoot and branched bur-reed.  The low values of these stamps sold out by 2001, the higher values would last until 2006.  The full set can be seen here
1971: Butterflies and Moths (Design - P Lambert)
 Head to west Africa to even warmer climes and find (1f )- the African Emperor Moth, Gonimbrascia hecate.  I don't know if it is day or night flying but would guess from being called Hecate it must be night. Coincidentally November 16th was Hecate's Night when she roams the earth with her hounds. A portion of bee's honey and mushrooms (Hecate's Supper) left on the step outside a home means she will bless the inhabitants. The next (2f) is a butterfly, Hamanumida Daedalus also called the guineafowl butterfly because of its colour and patterning.
1962: Postage Due Stamps - Beetles (Design - R Seles; Engraver - G Betemps)
I love catching sight of a glossy black beetle shining in the undergrowth but might get very excited if I saw something as patterned as this although unlikely as Sternotomis Virescens lives in Africa and feeds on the coffee plant.
If you prefer spots to stripes then here is another Longhorn beetle, Sternotomis Gama.  Lastly two beetles for the price of one franc, another Longhorn - Phosphorus virescens which apart from its sulphur-yellow pigment has yellow-green fluorescence, the perfect beetle for a stamp.  It is considered a pest because it bores into the stems of the cola plants.  Our striped friend is a flat-faced Longhorn beetle, Ceroplesis carabarica, its preference is coffee plants.

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Insects - for more fly over to -  See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 10 November 2019


2006: Lest We Forget (Hat Trick Design)
For Remembrance Sunday my first stamp has to be a poppy for many will be worn today. This stamp was the first of 3 poppy series that were issued to commemorate events in World War 1, in this case the Battle of the Somme.  Over recent years we have had many issues commemorating both world wars and events but I go back further in time
1974: Definitive Issue Low Values - Military Uniforms
to the 19th Century and Guernsey's Royal Militia, a little bit of irony there for Guernsey fought for Parliament in the English Civil War.  There is a history of 800 years of a militia in the islands although the first recorded battle was not until 1338 predictably against their nearest neighbours, the French.  The militia were not paid and service was obligatory
although one did get to wear a snazzy uniform.   The stamps show - 5½p Colour-Sergeant of Grenadiers East (Town) Regiment 1833; 6p Officer, North Regiment (Light Infantry) 1832; 8p Field Officer, Rifle Company (2nd Royal Guernsey Light Infantry) 1868; 9p Private, 4th West Regiment 1785 and 10p Field Officer, 4th West Regiment 1824
The soldier featured on this FDC is a Sergeant of the 3rd Regiment which appeared on the 3½p stamp but who can resist a stamps with horses
The £1 stamp is a Cavalry Trooper, Light Dragoons 1814, the next two feature the Field Battery of the Royal Guernsey Artillery showing - 50p an officer of 1868 and the 20p the Driver 1848.

The Military Uniforms definitive series ran from 1974 until 1980 although the 50p and £1 stamps were not withdrawn until 1981.

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Military, Remembrance - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Sing Out

1988: Youth Welfare - Pop Music (Design - Antonia Graschberger)
Time for a music concert.  Who would headline?   Would it be John Lennon
2017: David Bowie
David Bowie
2000: The Millennium Issue 3, 1970-1999 (Design - Olöf Baldursdottir)
Ungdomskultur = Youth Culture
or Abba?  Always a joy to sing along to Abba perhaps you could do it with others
1987: 125th Anniversary of German Choir Assn (Design - Peter Steiner)
in a choir.
1996: Four Decades (Design - Lasse Åberg; Engraver - Lars Sjööblom)
Can't make the venue?  Well put on a record like this Zoot suiter.  The Zoot suit culture arrived in Sweden from America via London in 1941 influenced by Cab Callaway, black style and swing jazz. It is considered Sweden's first working class subculture, in Swedish called Swingpjatt. As can be seen on the stamp  they wore their hair long with wide brimmed hats and padded shoulder jackets. 

A Gibson Les Paul Zoot Suit guitar

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Singers and Musicians - play along at See It On A Postcard 

Sunday, 27 October 2019


2018; Europa - Bridges (Design - Vitaliu Pogolsa)
A wooden bridge spanning the Raut River, a tributary of the more famous Dniester River. I liked the description of it as a 'wooden flying bridge' and it seems to be inviting us to take the first step and walk across. 
Just get out of the way on this bridge as the train thunders towards us. This is the Eiffel Bridge at Ungheni, a strategic railway bridge over the River Prut, on the border between Moldova and Romania.  The bridge was completed in 1877 just before the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-88 broke out in the region.  Gustave Eiffel's metal construction company built bridges all over the world but it is said his  favourite creations were railway bridges.  The stamp shows the bridge to dramatic effect but I must admit that the actual bridge looks rather more low key

unlike Ungheni Railway Station which is a beauty.  For the railway enthusiasts it is where narrow and broad gauge meet.
2018: Europa - Bridges (Design - Sergio Ruggeri)
Another railway bridge but the colours and the jaunty blue and white train puts me in a holiday mood. This is the Valdragone Railway Bridge with the towers of San Marino in the background. The electric train used to run from Rimini to San Marino city centre from 1933 to 1944 but today there is no operational railway.
1984: Europa
The 1984 Europa stamp was a return of the common design to celebrate 25 years of CEPT and this bridge design will be familiar to us all.  Happily for something different it is on a Maximum Card showing the Luxembourg Viaduct, known locally as simply The Paserelle or sometimes The Old Bridge and runs south of the city centre.  The viaduct was built between 1859-61 to link the city's railway station but located away from the centre so as not to detract from the defensive capabilities of the city's fortress.
2018: Europa - Bridges
Next we have a bridge in the mist, clouds and snow of Norway.  The Commemorative sheet shows Hardanger Bridge and the construction workers on the walkway of the bridge suspension cables. Faintly in the background of the sheet can be seen the construction drawings.  This photograph gave rise to an alternative name on social media of the Sky Bridge.   It is the largest suspension bridge in Norway (1,380m or 4527ft).  The towers are 200 meters above sea level and the main span is the longest suspension span in the world, longer than the Golden Gate Bridge.  From the middle of the bridge shown on the stamp I learn there are great photographs to be had of the fjord.   
1976: Australian Scenes (Design - O Borchert)
Lastly something I always enjoy, a bridge reflected in water. The Richmond Bridge in Tasmania is the oldest span bridge in Australia (1823) and is on their Nation Heritage listing and can be found on the B51 - the "Convict Trail", which as the name implies was built by convict labour.  Here it is featured at the blog 'On the Convict Trail'.

Cattawade Bridge, Suffolk

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Bridges - for more cross over to See It On A Postcard.  

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Tall Buildings Old and New

1947: Air Mail
My first thought on this week's Sunday Stamps 'tall buildings' prompt was New York.  The skyline made an appearance on this stamp with a Lockheed Constellation flying over it. Alas I did not have any other US stamps featuring skyscrapers but
1995: Definitive Stamp
the United Nations came to my rescue with its building in New York and a rather attractive postmark. So what other country came into my mind?  Well with its lack of space it has to be Hong Kong
1997: Hong Kong Skylines
and an evening skyline.  I don't know what the buildings are but
1999: Hong Kong Landmarks (Designer - C Tillyer)
at least this stamp tells me this is the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The building sits like a giant bird made of steel and glass by the water of Victoria Harbour, however the tower in the background, not a clue.   From the shining metal and glass of Hong Kong I turn to
1953: Millennial of the Kingdom of Denmark (Designer - V Bang; Engraver - Bent Jacobsen)
the old brickwork of Our Lady Church in Kalundburg, Denmark.  Built about 1170 the church stands on a hill above the harbour dominating the skyline with its 44m (144ft) central tower and the surrounding towers of 34m named after saints.   Kalunburg lies on the island of Zealand which is where
1944: The Round Tower (Red Cross Issue)
Denmark's capital and the start of the journey of this registered FDC from Copenhagen.  I always enjoy watching a parcel tracking app as a parcel wends it way to me but this envelope does it in an analog way if one looks at the back.
It has crossed Zealand from east to west arriving at Skaelstor on the same day 11 May 1944 and then taken the short trip across the water to the small island of Agerso, arriving with its recipient the next day 12 May 1944. Agerso is reputedly a tranquil place with a scattering of old farm houses, possibly a nicely out of  the way place for a Dane to be in 1944 when Denmark was under German military rule.
1944: The Round Tower (Design - V Bang; Engraver - J Britze)
The stamp shows the 17th Century 'Round Tower', an Astronomy observatory which is 36m tall however  if you take the spiral staircase to the top then you will have walked 209 metres.   Today it is used by amateur astronomers.
1963-1970 Definitives - Transport and Communications (Design - S Legrady)
I like this atmospheric 'brave new world' image of the Miskolc-Avas Television Tower.  It was built in 1966 in place of an old wooden lookout tower and indeed retains that usage for it has an observation deck.  Standing 72 metres (236 ft) I imagine there are some great views to be had.
Shard from London Bridge Station
The Shard, London

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Towers or Tall Buildings - look up See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Here Be Dragons

2015: Dragons (Illustrator - Adrian Chesterman)
The artist Adrian Chesterman specialises in fantastical realms and for Jersey Post he created six legendary dragons.
First (40) - is a dragon from the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf (spoiler alert, they both die at the end), (50) is George and the Dragon (only the dragon dies), we next travel to the Philippines (60) - The Bakunawa is believed to be the cause of eclipses, earthquakes, rain and wind.
Greek myth gives us next (70) - The Colchian Dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece, it was said to never sleep but the witch Medea put it to sleep with magic and drugs while Jason stole the fleece. European dragons are often perceived as evil and dangerous but - (82) The Chinese Dragon can be beneficial, spiritual and even sacred. The different colours have different meanings. Lastly is a Celtic dragon - (91) The Welsh Dragon whose origin may be the Great Red Serpent god Dewi.

The word dragon originates from the ancient Greek word drakon which translates as 'a giant monster  serpent-like creature' so lets see one
1970: The Labours of Hercules
The Lernean Hydra, a water serpent with fatally venomous breath said to have between 5 and 100 heads with one immortal head.  The stamp shows Hercules performing his second labour where he cuts off its heads with the help of his nephew (and one of the argonauts) Iolaus who singes the stump with a burning firebrand to prevent new heads growing.  (The illustration is taken from an ancient Greek storage vase/stamnos).   I hope you are not going to have nightmares after seeing this writhing water beast from the swamp of Lerna.
1990: Greeting Stamps - 'Smiles'
Here is something more benign, the Cheshire Cat with the handy knack of being able to disappear when something nasty appears.
Postcard - Detail from a silk Chinese Dragon Robe

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Dragons, Mythical Beasts or Dinosaurs -  gaze on them at See It On A Postcard